This year’s edition of the QSTP-hosted program also welcomed a student delegation from France to mark the Qatar-France Year of Culture
The third edition of the Arab Innovation Academy, a collaboration between Qatar Science & Technology Park and the European Innovation Academy (EIA), concluded with an intensive day of pitching by the 30 teams, followed by a graduation ceremony at QSTP on January 20. Ten teams were shortlisted out of which three winners were announced. To mark 2020 as the Qatar-France Year of Culture, a student delegation of 10 students from France also participated in the program for the first time.
Salamtak, a company that developed an online system for the management of chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension, and provides both patients and healthcare professionals with a real-time interface to monitor vital data, won the first place. While Hamza, for their development of the program, which assists with Arabic writing, automatically correcting grammatical errors, just like Grammarly in English, came second; and the third place was secured by Go Star, who created a platform for parents to create gamified daily life tasks for their children such as cleaning their room or feeding the pet.
Chief Business Officer of first-place winner Salamtak, Muhammad Al Mukdad, a Syrian living in Qatar, said: “I feel amazing! It has been ten challenging days, but it has been a great experience with wonderful people from around the world. We intend to find investment and start building this platform in Qatar.”
A number of teams won special awards including Doctorle, a consultation service for diabetic patients that provides them with guidance in helping them manage their lifestyles. The Doctorle team will get a chance to showcase their innovation at the upcoming edition of the World Innovation Summit for Health. The LimPap team was also recognized for their innovation that aims to produce paper by using completely sustainable sources instead of paper. The team will get an expedited interview with XLR8 - Qatar Science & Technology Park’s flagship Accelerator Program.
Ten days earlier, 190 university students had convened from all over the pan-Arab region to start this year’s Arab Innovation Academy (AIA) program. These students were selected for their innovative techbased ideas and entrepreneurial mindset, and came from diverse backgrounds and academic fields.
The fast-paced innovation academy, that took place from January 7-20, gave the aspiring techpreneurs ample exposure to real-life experiences and experiments on how to develop and launch new tech ventures, in a real marketplace with real customer feedback.
AIA is the first and the largest entrepreneurship program in the pan-Arab region, first brought to Qatar and the Middle East in 2018 through a collaboration between Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) - part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) and the EIA, considered to be the world’s largest extreme entrepreneurship program. Among similar accelerator programs, the AIA is distinguished by its unique accelerated mode of experiential learning to help techpreneurs turn an idea into a start‐up in only 10 days.
Following on the success of the first two editions, AIA 2020 received an overwhelming response and close to 800 applications. With Qatar-based students making up almost half of the participants in the third edition, other applicants came from Palestine, Kuwait, Algeria, France, Oman, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey.
The AIA is geared to providing participants with expert knowledge and mentorship in all aspects related to “starting your own business”, including business development, marketing, pitching and seeking investment. For this edition, all participants had full access to more than 40 top mentors and coaches, from the United States, the United Kingdom and European Union, Singapore, in addition to the regional and local mentors in the field of techpreneurship and innovation.
Hayfa Al Abdulla, QSTP Innovation Director, said: “Congratulations to this edition’s winners! They’ve shown true determination and brilliance. The AIA is one of the most successful platforms for promoting Qatari home-grown talent as well as regional capacities, and fostering innovative ideas.
“We are more than proud of the innovation shown by all participants and we have no doubt that their mindset will help us find solutions to the challenges we face as a society here at home, and in the wider region.”
As a leading technology hub in the region, QSTP has continued to play a key role in the success of a number of startups over the past 10 years and through AIA assists aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their ambitions by helping their tech startup ideas to gain momentum. To date, the number of graduates from the first and second editions of the AIA program has reached over 300 students. Qatari startups have benefited from the opportunities extended by EIA to leverage a stellar network of global mentors from Silicon Valley and all around the world.
Alar Kolk, President, EIA, said: “I am proud of each participant and believe that the program will shape their determination to continue innovating. The intensive program has given them a solid foundation to successfully launch their tech startups and realize their business ambitions, and they are assured of a wide network of support to do so.”
For more information about the Arab Innovation Academy and a complete list of winners, please visit: aia.inacademy.eu